Where is Jesus? Where am I?

by Andrea Maher, Guest Writer

 

TODAY’S TREASURE

And He said to them, Why did you seek Me?  Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?

Luke 2: 49

 

Jesus is lost!  But is He?

Have you ever lost one of your children?  I am the mother of four boys and I have had this experience numerous times.  One such time was at Disney World (before cell phones), and we had to break up in teams to search.  I can say that regardless of the magical backdrop, I was terrified until I found my son.

Jesus was twelve-years-old when Joseph and Mary caravanned from Nazareth to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.  Caravans sometimes involved as many as a hundred or more “family” members. Mary didn’t notice Jesus’ absence until the end of the first day’s trip (thank you Mary for giving us Mom’s grace!).  They then began the arduous task of returning back to Jerusalem a full day’s journey away, and spent another day scouring the town before they found Jesus sitting among teachers in the Temple courts, asking questions and providing answers.  Can you imagine the built-up tension and anxiety in Mary’s heart?

Mary blurts out, “Son, why have you treated us this way?”  His response:  Why did you seek Me?  Those words had to be jolting and at the very least would seem insensitive and difficult to understand.  But what we are actually seeing here is a much needed course correction for Mary. Jesus was reconfirming something Mary continually grappled with, and that was there is a heavenly plan at work.  He was making it clear that His relationship to His mother was subordinate to His relationship with His Father.

I so often need a course correction.  I have the tendency to keep my hands on my circumstances to try and control them to my desired outcome.  Then when things go topsy- turvy, I turn and wonder where God is. I can’t find you, Jesus! That is because it was me who was lost, as I created my own plan on how my life should be, and how God fits into it based on my terms.

I will never forget the five years I spent every weekend visiting my son in prison.  I looked around this foreign country and couldn’t figure out how I got there. It was in that very place I learned how to put into practice what it meant to be about my Father’s business.   There was so much hopelessness in the many people around me—families and inmates alike. Embittered people--cursing, grumbling, and crying out in anger; and so many without a faith base. It was in that dark environment, my eyes began to see—truly see.  It was there I remembered a prayer I had piously said for years:  Lord may I see with Your eyes, hear with Your ears, and feel with Your heart.

Gradually, through the renewing of my mind, prison became a mission field.  I began to see God’s hand every step of the way. He gave me a peace that was unexplainable.   And strangely enough, in God’s providential design, I would eventually see this missionary journey as a perfect fit.  You see, I was very familiar with the criminal justice system from the legal side of life. I was married to a retired Police Chief and current Undersheriff of our County.  Police Chief’s sons don’t get sent to prison. Do they?

So oddly enough, we were more equipped than most to navigate the tangled web of prison bureaucracy.  More importantly, we were followers of Jesus. We could provide hope, encouragement, resources, rides, and even financial assistance to individuals.  It eventually birthed my non-profit, The Be Still Foundation, which provides books and materials to inmates, as well as hope and encouragement to families in crisis.  Throughout my journey, I continually reminded myself I must be about my Father’s business.  While I couldn’t understand the why, I could respond to the what.  

I began to see God in a new way—a course correction.  The prison land plowed deeply into the recesses of my heart making it more fertile to see people’s needs.  It was in those long lines at the gates, with armed guards in the tower, and undignified pat downs at the door God stripped away the pride that continually tripped me up.

God would reveal Himself to me in a new way when I felt lost in a foreign land.

LIFE GIVING ENCOURAGEMENT

Don’t forget that whatever comes your way, while you may feel lost-- God is never lost.  If you are in dreaded fear of your present circumstances because all that was familiar is gone—then trust God is making something new.  He is in the business of creating beauty from ashes. If you are thrown into a foreign territory (anything unfamiliar) embrace God is about to teach you an amazing new language.  I never delved deeper into the Word of God than when I had to surrender my child to the unknown and trust God was with Him because he was God’s child long before he was ever mine.

PRAYER


Father I am so afraid.  Fear surrounds me, my circumstances overwhelm me.  I feel like my life will never be the same. How can I ever recover from this tragedy?  Remind me Who You are. May I always remember that it is You, Oh Lord, who truly does make all things new.  May I remember “because of the Lord’s loving devotion we are not consumed, for His compassion never fail.  They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness!” Lamentations 3: 22-23.  Open our hearts to hear Your voice.  Help us to find You in everything that comes our way.   I submit all the broken pieces of my life into Your hands and I trust that You will carry me through and be glorified in the process.


STORE UP MORE TREASURES

 
 
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At some point in our lives, we or someone we know will go through great suffering. I encourage you to go the MARKINC website and listen to One Wrong Decision Can Change Everything - An Interview with Matt Maher audio resource so that you can store up treasures of encouragement for the next rainy day in your life or someone else's. Here is a summary and teaser of this resource:

From pro soccer player to ex-convict Matt Maher’s story is a call to young people to think carefully before making impulsive decisions. Matt was born and raised in a strong Christian family, and for most of his life he was a good reflection of that upbringing. He was extremely successful in academia and sports, attended Temple University on a scholarship and was contracted to play professional soccer. Then one night, he made one choice that changed everything. On March 7, 2009 he made the decision to drink and drive–causing a fatal accident. Charged with aggravated manslaughter and sentenced to 5 ½ years in prison, Matt faced choices he never imagined possible.


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To win Andrea Maher's Slammed, Overcoming Tragedy in the Midst of Grief (1) like our Facebook page and (2) share Andrea’s Daily Treasure devotion(s) on Facebook with the hashtag #ilovedailytreasure, telling people why you love Daily Treasure. The more devotionals you share the higher your opportunity to win! The winner of Andrea's book will be announced on Monday, March 18th. 


Andrea Maher is the former editor-in-chief of PARENT ABC’s a monthly magazine.Her writings have been regularly featured in local newspapers and parenting publications nationwide.

She is a ministry partner with Hope for the BrokenHearted, who features her blogs and video blogs.She is the author of SLAMMED: Overcoming Tragedy in the Wave of Grief, and recently had her book selected as March FAITHBOXbook of the month.

She is the executive director of the Be Still Foundation, a ministry that disseminates hope and encouragement —to prisons, rehabs, or families in crisis.She has been married to her husband John for 42 years and has four children, six grandchildren, and two more grandbabies on the way.

Follow Andrea Maher on Social Media @AndreaMaherSlammed.

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Contact Sharon with comments or questions at dailytreasure@markinc.org.